They’re supposed to represent the people who put them into office, but the reality is: government leaders are far more concerned with pleasing and appeasing the self-interested business organisations which control the on- and offline media than their own constituents.
The UK government has proved more than willing to kowtow to corporate entertainment industry demands and in its latest act of servility, says it plans to tax file sharers on behalf of the multi-billion-dollar record labels —- Vivendi Universal (France), Sony BMG (Japan and Germany), EMI (Britain), and Warner Music (US).
“We need action as the industry is suffering,” The Independent has a “Whitehall source” declaring .
With that in the background, Net users could face fines, dressed up as “an annual charge,” of up to £30 (about $60) to, “download music under plans to be unveiled today that aim to tackle illegal file-sharing,” it says, going on »»»
Ministers are backing proposals that would enable millions of broadband users to pay an annual levy which would allow them to copy as much – previously illegal – music from the internet as they wanted. The money raised would be channelled back to the rights-holders, with artists responsible for the most popular songs receiving a bigger slice of the cash.
John Hutton, the Business Secretary, and Andy Burnham, the Culture Secretary, will unveil a package of proposals, beginning with thousands of prolific downloaders receiving letters warning them they are breaking the law by copying music and sending it to friends. The Government sees that move as the last chance for internet service providers (ISPs) to get a grip on the growing problem of piracy.
In the longer term, Mr Burnham is supporting calls from sections of the music industry for a yearly levy of £20 to £30 to be imposed by ISPs on customers who want to share music.
They believe it would prevent criminalising large sections of the public, while helping to compensate the music industry for lost sales. If successful it could be extended to cover films and television programmes.
Veteran Big 4 supporter Peter Jenner is quoted in the story as saying, “If you get enough people paying a small enough amount of money you can turn around the wheels of the music industry.”
Nor is this the first time ex-Pink Floyd manager Jenner has been involved in demands for a music tax.
He argued for it in Europe in 2006, said p2pnet in March, going on:
“Trent Reznor said the same thing last year (as did the Songwriters Association of Canada).”
And Warner Music hired music industry expert Jim Griffin, “to create a new entity that would create a pool of money from user fees to be distributed to artists and copyright holders,” said our story, continuing:
The goal? A measly $5 per month from everyone, “or fees of $20 billion per year. That’s double the current size of the recorded music industry ($10 billion).”
Just think what $60 a month would do.
Adds The Independent:
“The Government will also announce consultation on other ways of combating internet piracy, with a view to final decisions later in the year after studying the impact of the warning letters. Legislation could be in place by next spring.
“As well as an annual levy set by ISPs, the Government will also float the idea of a “three strikes and you’re out” policy adopted in France under which people who illicitly download or share music are disconnected after ignoring two warnings.
“Other alternatives include requiring ISPs to disclose the identities of regular downloaders, a move they warn would be costly and could breach data protection controls. They could also be ordered to install filters that would prevent downloading.
“Ministers accept there are considerable practical problems in controlling online activity and are wary of imposing expensive regulations on internet providers. But they say the scale of the problem, and its impact on Britain’s creative industries, means doing nothing is not an option.”
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